Posts Tagged Blu-ray Disc
Three Months in Customer Service Limbo
By DAVID SEGAL
Published: June 23, 2012
THE Haggler’s column about a man whose Facebook account was hijacked by a sneaker-selling spammer provoked a lot of been-there e-mails, and some of them were kind of amusing. One, from Bryan Dale of Toronto, is destined to become a plot point in a Channing Tatum rom-com:
“One day, for no apparent reason, I was locked out of Facebook and told I had to prove my identity to regain entry. The protocol I was required to follow was to identify four of seven randomly selected photographs of my Facebook friends.
“Given that I use Facebook for networking and had never met most of my ‘friends,’ this was difficult. It was made impossible, however, because most of my Facebook friends are connected with pit bull advocacy and many of their pictures presented to me were actually pictures of their dogs.”
On second thought, for this to work in a script, we’ll need to tinker with the breed. Maybe a Labradoodle? Whatever. It’s movie gold.
Now to a new tale:
Q. I’ve been trying to get my Hewlett-Packard Envy laptop repaired for more than three months. Without exaggerating I can tell you that this has been the most frustrating customer-service failure I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve been around a while.
I contacted H.P. in the beginning of March, when the laptop was about five weeks old. There was a dead pixel right in the middle of the screen. Also, the laptop had a huge bulge in the track-pad area, and the Blu-ray drive stuttered.
My first call to H.P. resulted in a brush off. The pixel issue isn’t covered by the two-year warranty, I was told. Conveying my disappointment and annoyance got me nowhere. But a few days later, an H.P. rep e-mailed. An agent, it turned out, had escalated the issue and I was told the screen would be repaired and the other problems fixed. I mailed the computer to the company.
When I checked on the progress of the repair, H.P., to my amazement, could not confirm what repairs had been done. I was already on a low boil when the computer was returned and the screen was in the same damaged condition.
Another call to H.P. This time, someone described as a case manager offered me a refund or, if I wanted to keep the computer, an additional year of warranty. When I suggested that wasn’t much of an enticement, the case manager tossed in accidental damage coverage as well.
By now it’s May. I sent back the laptop and waited. And waited.
(O.K., the Haggler is going to interrupt here and give a quick summary of the rest of this tale, which goes on at somewhat numbing length and, in its original form, includes lots of all-caps, which everyone knows are banned by the Geneva Conventions of Grousing in Print. The gist is that this grouser, John Kosgrove, asked for an upgrade, citing the hassle and delay, and H.P. agreed. But because H.P. is apparently run by arrogant sadists — the Haggler is paraphrasing here — this led only to more hassle and more delay.
The back-and-forth continues for weeks. When the Haggler asked Mr. Kosgrove recently if his computer had finally materialized, he wrote this:)
No. I learned yesterday that they have thrown out, or recycled, my computer. Which they did without notifying me or getting my permission and certainly before anything had been done to resolve this situation. I still can’t believe it. John Kosgrove
A. How, you may wonder, is it possible that a company as august as H.P. is unable to repair and/or upgrade a computer in three months?
Typically, in these situations, the Haggler hopes that someone in the company can explain. But at H.P., employees seem to live by the reporter’s adage that it is better to show rather than tell. The Haggler’s experience was surprisingly similar to Mr. Kosgrove’s: it was unsatisfying and it took too long.
In most instances, a company needs about two days, maybe three, to get to the bottom of a service glitch like the one described above. It took the H.P. spokeswoman Marlene Somsak five days. That would not seem particularly awful except that after five days, this is nearly all of what she said:
“Our pixel repair policy wasn’t clear to the agent who fielded this customer’s call,” she said. “He should have had a repair or a replacement because of that issue and that is now clear to our agents.”
She expanded a bit. It turns out that because Mr. Kosgrove bought a high-end laptop, he is covered by the warranty if only a single pixel is dead. That isn’t true of other, less expensive models, she said.
In other words, the person who took Mr. Kosgrove’s call back in March made a mistake.
Now this is positively revelatory if all you want to understand is what went haywire in the first three minutes of this unfortunate episode. But it sheds not a busted pixel’s worth of light on the remaining three months of errors and irritations.
The Haggler expressed his dismay over the paucity of information collected by Ms. Somsak after five days. She politely deflected. And suddenly there seemed two possibilities: Either Ms. Somsak knew a lot more than she was letting on and wasn’t sharing. Or Ms. Somsak had run into exactly the same obstacles as Mr. Kosgrove and had learned next to nothing.
The Haggler had a hunch that it was the latter. So he asked Ms. Somsak: Did this little inquiry take so long and yield so little, because you had encountered some of the very issues that had exasperated this customer?
She laughed, paused and said as diplomatically as possible, “It took me longer to get the answer than I would have liked.”
As it now stands, Mr. Kosgrove is receiving a substantially upgraded computer, which will be built by June 29, and shipped soon after. Ms. Somsak said the machine should be landing in Mr. Kosgrove’s hands in early July. For perfectly understandable reasons, she was reluctant to make any guarantees.
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